Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – There are some that say Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson – including himself – had a sub par rookie season.
But not running backs coach Gary Brown.
Brown spoke Friday about the pain that Richardson played with this season and how impressed he was with how the back from Alabama gutted it out.
“If anyone in here has ever had a broken rib, but you can’t breathe, you can’t twist, you can’t turn,” Brown said. “So for us to go out there and expect him to be the Trent that we all saw at Alabama, I think that we were putting a little bit too much on him.
“He went out and played and showed he’s a very mentally and physically tough kid. He went out and played at a high level for what we thought we could get from him with the rib.”
Richardson finished the season averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. Brown said the rib injury played a major role in limiting and leaving him with a sour feeling about his first year in the NFL.
“To his standards, [his season was] disappointing,” Brown said. “I know for certain that he wanted to do more. He wanted to be more productive, but with the knee, the ribs kind of slowed his rookie season down.”
Richardson finished the year with 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground while adding 51 catches for 367 yards and a touchdown receiving.
Despite the injury bug, Brown’s expectation is that Richardson will develop into an elite back once he returns next year healthy.
“The city of Cleveland will see exactly what Trent Richardson is and I believe that’s going to be a top-flight running back in this league,” Brown said. “I promise you this; we haven’t seen the best of him. We’ve seen flashes. Last week against Denver you saw the quickness again. Some of things he was hitting it hard. Those are the things, when he gets to the second or third year, you’ll be saying he’s one of the best in the league.
“I truly believe that.”
Bring It On: Not many players enjoy playing on the road let alone playing in Heinz Field. Receiver Greg Little is the exception.
Little said Friday that he welcomes the hostile crowd – especially Steelers fans.
“That’s probably my favorite place to play,” Little said. “I love a hostile environment and I love the crowd being into the game until the end. I love the boo’s, I love that. I just love playing away.”
It’s a unique view considering most players – in any sport – prefer playing at home but Little explained why he’s such a road warrior.
“It’s fun to me. It really is,” Little said. “It keeps you into the game. It keeps you in tune to it. I don’t want to say that you care more about it but you do. You want to shut the fans up; you want to silence the crowd. It’s fun to go into a hostile environment and to come out with a win.”
End Of The Streak: Cornerback Sheldon Brown will see his consecutive games played streak come to an end this week at 175.
Brown, who sustained a concussion in last week’s loss to Denver, did not practice this week and was ruled out Friday by Shurmur.
“It’s probably disappointing for him,” Shurmur said. “Unfortunately, he had a concussion and there’s protocol. That’s kind of out of our hands. He ran out of days to come back.”
Injury Report: Out – QBs Brandon Weeden (shoulder) and Colt McCoy (shoulder), CB Sheldon Brown (head/foot), TE Jordan Cameron (head) and RB Trent Richardson (ankle).
Limited Participation – KR Josh Cribbs (knee), Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf), DL Juqua Parker (knee), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hamstring) and LT Joe Thomas (back).
Full Participation – S Tashaun Gipson (foot), DT OL John Greco (thumb), DT John Hughes (back) and TE Alex Smith (illness).